Lesotho: (Report updated June 8, 2015)
The building on the left and below, a home for the elderly, was built by unskilled villagers and high school students, in a matter of months, after they were trained by SARID's architects and engineers. It has passive heating and cooling features and is warm in winter and cool in summer.
Lesotho, a poor country, in Southern Africa on a high African Plateau, experiences extremes of temperature with below freezing temperatures in winter and very hot temperatures in summer. People live mostly in uninsulated and unheated structures.
With few resources and/ or fossil fuels, with a young and an emerging economy, most of the heating in winter is with imported fossil fuel or imported electricity - imported from South Africa at an exorbitant and unaffordable price for a poor country. Most people are not able to afford heating or cooling.
Besides the economic ramifications of huge outlays of revenue by the country on imported energy, for the common man the energy cost are crippling. For the larger population that is poor winters are biterly cold. Some population are at risk of premature death such as infant, the young, the elderly, and those who are immune compromised. Continous cold weather compromises a body's immune response.
Traditional building types made of adobe and thatch were better adapted to the climate, but given the life cycle cost associated with such practices and lack of skilled workers, people have turned to masonry construction which is a poor choice given that masonry structures are mostly not insulated or are poorly insulated. Wood is not available and would prove far more expensive as it would have to be imported. Lesotho is mostly treeless because of poor rainfall, geology, deforestation in the past for firewood, and lack of a re-planting regimen.
Given these issues in Decemebr 2014 SARID proposed to the Sisters of Charity Ottawa (SCO) to build a prototype structure which would be a non-wood, non-combustible, reinforced concrete structure, and which would be cheaper and comparatively more energy efficient. Further the building type would rely heavily on locally available building materials and would tap the largely unemployed and unskilled population as a labor resource . This in turn would create employment opportunities. Hence Lesotho would engage and mobilize its internal economy. The economic ramifications of adoption of Sarid's technology are huge as it would reduce Lesotho's dependence on imported fossil fuels and electricity for heating and cooling.
SARID firmly beieves that poor countries can only improve their economy, and provide their poor with adequate shelter, through self reliance, by utilizing indigenous resources, and by creating new cottage industries that provide innovative construction material, and by recycling waste whenever and wherever possible.
Imported solutions from western countries are very often not tailored to the needs of poor countries such as Lesotho, and are unaffordable. Western architects pretend to know how to build for poor countries but the fact is they don't and end up doing more damage than good. They make the countries dependent on imported goods and end up primarily benefiting the exporting economies and international banking institutions.
See video below for more images of the process and completed building.
SARID has been for years building such structures in many countries and has been able to introduce a more affordable structure type ( see our website). It has been compromised only by a lack of resources, research and development (R&D) funds, skeptics, and much needed donor support.
The proposed building type for Lesotho represents a modest breakthrough not only for Lesotho or African countries but for many poor countries in the world. The process may need to be tweaked to adapt to the country where structures are being built - but essentially it will lower the construction cost of buildings regardless of its geographical location. This has been the case in Haiti, Pakistan and Bangladesh and in New Orleans. The process can be adapted for seismic as well as high wind and tornado zones.
In Lesotho construction cost of future units are expected to be 30% cheaper than comparable structures such as commonly used masonry or other competing structure types, and 70% cheaper over the life of the project.
SARID/ SCO team started by converting a small storage space into a vocational center - in the hope of teaching
the local volunteers building skills. A small investment was made on mostly hand tools. The first batch of volunteers ended up building the prototype. Most of these volunteers had only secondary school education, were previously unemployed, and had little or no prior experience in construction. After training the volunteers had learnt carpentry skills, use of hand tools, and other building /construction skills. Seeing the enthusiasm of the volunteers SCO decided not only to provide free training but as an incentive also provided food and a stipend. The hope is that the skills learnt will improve
their chances of employment in the construction industry and perhaps make them capable of building a home for themselves.
The proprietary technology, intellectual property of SARID, was offered at no charge to SCO, has both passive heating and cooling capabilities. It will keep the structure cool in summer and warm in winter. The proposed SARID structure will be significantly more energy efficient than current structure types in Lesotho or South Africa.
This structure is very well insulated, with an average heat resistance value of R-24 to R-30 in the walls, and has utilized some 4,000 recycled waste polystyrene (Styrofoam) lunch boxes as insulation. Currently these EPS ( expanded polystyrene) lunch (takeout)boxes are burnt, considered trash, causing an irreversible ecological damage, ozone depletion and contribute adversely to global warming. The thatch roof has an average heat resistance value of R-30.
SARID is looking into other waste to recycle and incorporate within the future structure and has done so in other instances........
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Please click here to see a video of the process and completed interiors ( This video is an mp4 file. It is user friendly - you may pause, stop and play the video as you please)
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